Amid the international scandal involving Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who disappeared after publicly denouncing on Chinese social media the former vice-premier of having sexually abused her, attention is now focused on who is Zhang Gaoli, the former senior official that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is trying to protect, but why?
Who is Zhang Gaoli
Zhang Gaoli, 75, was a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee—the CCP’s highest decision-making body—and vice premier from 2012 to 2017.
He also served as Party secretary of Shandong, Guangdong provinces, and Tianjin.
Zhang Gaoli, according to China analyst Larry Ong who wrote for Vision Times, belongs to the Jiang Zemin faction, which is at war with the faction of current leader Xi Jinping who during the campaign to eliminate corruption purged several senior leaders who were loyal to Jiang Zemin.
Jiang Zemin was the intellectual and material author of the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline of the Buddha School that, according to official estimates, counted some 100 million adherents by 1999 when the regime began to persecute practitioners.
The persecution of Falun Gong for its scale and brutality is considered one of the most heinous crimes of modern times. However, due to CCP censorship and the complicity of many media, companies, and governments that maintain business or are interested in the Chinese market, the fact and its seriousness have gone almost unnoticed.
Zhang carried out Jiang Zemin’s policy of persecution during his tenure in Guangdong Shandong provinces and Tianjin.
He had thousands of Falun Gong practitioners arrested, detained, and sentenced in these areas. He was guilty of torture that caused a large number of deaths and disabilities of Falun Gong practitioners.
Minghui.org was able to document more than 4,700 deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in custody, but independent reports on the CCP’s organ harvesting crime estimate that hundreds of thousands of practitioners were killed to harvest their organs to sell for transplants.
Minghui.org currently has 90 reports about the persecution in China of innocent people in which Zhang Gaoli was involved.
Although, as a leader of the communist regime, he never personally carried out any killings, Gaoli is responsible for implementing Jiang Zemin’s genocidal policies.
What did Peng Shuai denounce?
Peng Shuai alleged that when Zhang was Party secretary of Tianjin city, between 2007 and 2012, sexual assaults began.
Zhang used his power to force her into an on-and-off sexual relationship with him against her will. They stopped seeing each other after Zhang moved to Beijing in 2013 to become China’s vice premier.
Zhang contacted her again in 2018, after leaving politics.
Zhang and his wife took her to their home one day. In front of his wife, he asked her to have sex with her and took her inside a room while his wife guarded the door.
“I was scared that afternoon,” Peng wrote, “I had never thought it would be like this. (Zhang’s wife) stood guard outside [while he sexually assaulted me inside the room]. I thought no one could believe that a wife would be willing to do something like this.”
Is Xi trying to purge Zhang Gaoli?
While Peng’s denunciation on Weibo—China’s version of Twitter—lasted a mere 20 minutes, it was enough for the world to learn of Zhang’s perversity, who is now a ‘scumbag’ in the eyes of the Chinese public.
But was it coincidental that the publication was online for 20 minutes?
Considering that nothing in China’s cyberspace is outside the control of the CCP’s ‘army’ of Internet police, the answer is no, and most likely, it is another Xi Jinping purge.
Suppose the pressure on Beijing over the Peng Shuai case continues and the Olympics are jeopardized, or the consequences of keeping Zhang Gaoli in hiding are too high. In that case, he will most likely be convicted of his crimes publicly; also a warning signal from Xi to former leader Jiang Zemin, who experts say controls the military and embassies abroad and has repeatedly tried to put his people in positions of power to remove Xi.